Las Cruces Space Festival
On Thursday, April 12, the festivities kick off in recognition of the anniversary of human space flight, when the USSR launched Yuri Gagarin into orbit on April 12, 1961. Activities will include solar observations, space talks, demonstrations and star gazing during the day at NMSU, a free Mars Mission at the Challenger Learning Center, a Space Quiz with prizes at The Game off University Ave., as well as a free, evening showing of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” at 7 p.m. at the Rio Grande Theatre.
The fun continues Friday, April 13 with a Space Showcase at the Mesilla Valley Mall from noon – 6pm. The Showcase will feature interactive public exhibits, space heritage displays and more. There will also be another free Mars Mission at the Challenger Center. That afternoon, hear from people who have made space exploration their careers at Space Talks beginning at 5:30pm at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces. Finish the day at the Rio Grande Theatre, with a free showing of “The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy.” The movie begins at 7 p.m.
Finally, at 2pm on Saturday, April 14, the City of Las Cruces will unveil a full-size replica of Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo which will be on display in the parking lot to the northwest of City Hall. Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima and representatives from Virgin will be on-hand and speaking, and attendees can photograph or take selfies with the spaceship.
Earlier, there will be a free Mars Mission at the challenger Center, a talk at the Branigan Library, and a space book signing at Coas Books. Additionally, the Rio Grande Theatre will have a free, noon showing of “Toy Story,” featuring Buzz Lightyear, for both the kids and kids at heart.
Following the unveiling, take part in the first annual Space Walk from city hall to the Plaza de Las Cruces. The walk is free, registration is at 3pm, and the walk begins at 3:30 pm. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes, so be creative!
The festival will conclude with the Making Space for Everyone event on the Plaza de Las Cruces from 4-8 pm. The event will feature hands-on activities, showcases, displays, and educational activities free for the public. There will also be a game of space pickleball, a visiting aircraft, and other attractions.
Rio Grande Theatre
211 N Downtown Mall, Las Cruces, NM 88001
Thursday, April 12 | ``Close Encounters of the Third Kind`` - 7:00 p.m.
Friday, April 13 | “The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy” - 7:00 p.m.
Friday, April 14 | “Toy Story” - Noon
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The [Spaceport America Visitors Center] is located in the historic downtown district of “Truth or Consequences”, and features exhibits and displays encapsulating the work of the nearby Spaceport America.
The Center features interactive games, kiosks, a 3-D Magic Planet digital globe and a specially designed G-Shock simulator, which allows visitors to feel a comparable rapid acceleration of an astronaut in flight.
Guests can also purchase tickets to tour Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose built commercial spaceport, featuring tenants Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, UP Aerospace, and EnergeticX.
Spaceport America Visitor Center
301 S Foch St, Truth or Consequences, NM 87901
Saturday - Sunday | Morning Tours: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday | Afternoon Tours: 1:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Tuesdays - Wednesdays | Group & Schools Tours Available (Call Office)
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Ted Turner Expeditions
For another way to journey into space, consider a Hot Air Balloon Ride with Ted Turner Expeditions (TTX). While visitors won’t travel among the stars, they can break Earth’s gravitational pull and see the surrounding regions of Las Cruces from an entirely new vantage point.
The four-hour tour will take guests over the 360,000-acre Armendaris Ranch at first light, where they will have the chance to spot bison, antelope and other exciting wildlife just waking up, with only the occasional sound of the balloon burner lifting them skyward.
View the pristine earth stretching in all directions, and in the distance, spot iconic sites like the historic El Camino Real Trail and Elephant Butte Lake—an incredible way to experience the Ranches from above!